Behind the label

I would like to express my sadness at the Red Tractor logo replacing the Quality Assurance schemes run by Eblex and Bpex, which craft butchers like myself have benefited from, enabling us to promote ourselves as people you can trust.

At the trade conference of the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders I spoke on the issue of the Red Tractor logo being used by Tesco to promote meat from this country, Sweden, Holland and Denmark. I also produced adverts from national newspapers to illustrate the point.

Customers using my shop were under the impression that the Red Tractor ensured that the product was made in Britain, so they were shocked at the adverts I showed them.

If this amalgamation goes ahead I think many butchers who have supported Eblex and Bpex schemes will fall by the wayside. I most certainly do not want to be in a scheme that people can abuse.

On the issue of traceability in Ipswich, just recently I was told by a waitress in a restaurant that the beef they served was local. She told me the name of the butcher, who I know for a fact purchases only Scottish Beef. In another venue, upon asking the source of the pork, I was told Ireland. I thought chicken would be a safe bet to be local, how wrong could I be? It was from Brazil.

I believe that the industry must urge the powers-that-be to ensure we have honest labelling in all sectors of the food industry so that the consumer can make an informed decision on what they are eating and supporting the British food industry.

George Debman, retail butcher, Ipswich